26/09/2017

☆ Review: Peregrin - "a Troll, a bull and a frog walk into a bar…" ☆ #GameDev

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Peregrin is a story-driven puzzle game from Domino Digital, easy on the eye and also on the mind.


Peregrin begins with your character, Abi, getting off the boat with which she has traversed the waters separating her village from a massive fortress complex surrounded by a sandy beach. It is here that her journey begins in earnest. 

She has been training for years for this moment, embarking on a mission that no-one before her has yet been able to complete.


The gameplay of Peregrin is mainly based on Abi’s ability to control creatures and enemies that she has line of sight with, there are are various totems that Abi can interact with that power up and allow her to force creatures to do her very specific bidding. The three creatures that feature throughout Peregrin are a troll, which can lift heavy objects , a bull which can charge down bridges etc and a frog which can push buttons from a distance and lure other creatures through different screens.


Enemies in Peregrin are handled by entering their circle of influence and deciding whether to attack or take over an enemy in order to use it against its cohorts. The battles in the game are brief and serve mainly as a variation on the puzzles as opposed to complex turn-based fights to the death. Everything in Peregrin (Abi included) can be killed in one hit. This isn’t too much of a drawback though, should you lose a skirmish as you will be instantly reloaded on that same screen so back-tracking isn’t an issue.


The Graphics in the game reminded me of Journey, especially in the early chapter with sand whipping  across the screen as you work your way across the dunes to the fortress through the strange, broken land filled with rusted, relics of a lost era. Animation is extremely smooth and the aesthetics feel polished. Music consists of keening orchestral minimalism with ambient sounds which match the specific area of the game that you are currently playing through.


As she ventures further through the land, Abi will be contacted by several individuals, mainly her father and the village elder. They discuss how vital the success of her mission is and also lament the loss of their friend Isaac, who tried this same journey some time before and plays a large part in Abi’s motivations throughout the game. 


The layout of the game does feel somewhat unconvincing, considering that the story is so mournful and melancholic, it is quite jarring to walk into an underground facility and see a frog near a control panel and a bull standing on a gantry near some vats of smelted metal, it all seems very convenient. I understand that these animals make up the bulk of the gameplay but I feel that they could have been inserted into the game in a way that was more fitting to the narrative.


There are some breath-taking scenes at points in the game usually around the time that a chapter ends or begins, the ominous and strongly-acted voice overs add a depth of mystery and intrigue to the proceedings, there is talk of Gods being defied, humans buried under the weight of their own greed and mystical powers all set against the backdrop of a seemingly post-nuclear holocaust, all of this adds up to a real quality in the game’s design. Unfortunately as the game goes on and several hours in you are still solving similar, basic puzzles with the game three creatures, the lack of variety does make it feel like a bit of a grind. There are several switch based puzzles but nothing too taxing. 

The stringency to which the creatures powers are used also got to me after a while, jumping through multi-screen puzzle hoops to get a bull onto the right section of a previous screen that surely the troll could just push down anyway? Again, its the contrivance of the animals being used as they are for such specific tasks, as the game headed into the final chapters, it was the narrative that kept me playing long after I had cooled to the puzzle design.


Peregrin is very much based on hot-spots to click on, a lot of the necessary sections in the game pulse a white colour so you know what can be interacted with (another strange choice was making the space-bar the key needed to possess creatures when the entire game is mouse-driven and the right mouse button isn’t used), it gave me the impression that it would very suited for tablets and mobiles due to this style of gameplay. Were I playing Peregrin on a tablet I feel like I would have been more forgiving of the nature of its puzzles.

Summary
  • In summary, Peregrin is a pretty short game coming in at around 3-4 hours with a very atmospheric story that’s well delivered. 
  • I can’t imagine many people will get to the end of the game and crave more of it’s puzzles but they do remain breezy for a large chunk of the game before it gets to a bit of a grind towards the end. 
  • The visuals and sound design complement the narrative perfectly but the lack of variety does become an issue in the final chapters, and ultimately, this could be what puts some people off what is quite a beautiful game with a story to tell.
RATING: MELTING

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Just Falls Short Of Greatness)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase

Game Link: Steam
Dev Link: Domino Digital
 











Review By Britt @kingdomofcarts